Running forHillsborough County Commissioner (District 1)
as a candidate of theRepublican Party
A former school teacher, I am presently a Senior Account Executive at Business NH Magazine. I am involved in many civic activities including Chairwoman of the Manchester Highway Commission, Trustee Emeritus & Past President of the Manchester Historic Association, Board member Southern NH Services, Member of Manchester Rotary, former Board member Amoskeag Health and Commissioner of the Arts & Culture Commission National Association of Counties. I am presently serving as Hillsborough County Commissioner.
Prior political experience/officesDelegate during the 1984 Constitutional Convention.
NH Legislature as vice-Chair of the Health, Human Services & Elderly Affairs Committee for three terms.
Chairwoman of the 1996 Manchester Charter Review Commission.
Time lived in NH45 years
EducationRutgers University, New Jersey BA English
Best way to contact candidate603-582-9435
If elected or re-elected, please describe initiatives you expect you introduce.
I would like to save money in healthcare costs in our Hillsborough County Department of Corrections. Currently the Department of Corrections is responsible for the medical care of our inmates. This includes healthcare costs to non-convicted individuals who are presently denied Medicaid, Veterans’ benefits and social security before they are convicted of a crime; a cost borne by the Hillsborough County taxpayer. I believe this is unconstitutional. I will work with the National Association of Counties to bring reform to the system and reinstate federal healthcare benefits to pre-trial inmates thus taking the burden off the Hillsborough County taxpayer.
What are the most important concerns facing you’ve heard from Manchester residents and how can you address those concerns if elected or re-elected?
Rising property taxes during our public health crises (see response to question five) and placing loved ones in a long-term facility. Our Hillsborough County facility has a long waiting list. As New Hampshire ages, I foresee a solution needed to address the problems of our growing elderly population. Prior to COVID 19, Hillsborough County was developing a long range plan to better serve our senior citizens. If reelected, I will turn my attention back to finalizing and implementing that plan.
Do you believe the state government or local governments could replace the role of county government in New Hampshire? Also, do you believe most New Hampshire residents understand the role of county government in New Hampshire?
I do not believe that state government or local government could replace the role of county government in New Hampshire. The delivery of services by Hillsborough County offers citizens a responsive, well established government that is connected with the community. A level of accountability is found in the election process that ensures that county commissioners, county delegations and county constitutional officers remain accountable to the voters. A single statewide approach by appointed officials to the services county government provides would not work in our state. County government, because of its size acts more nimbly than state government. It offers local control and is the right size to offer regional services to its citizens.
I believe that most New Hampshire residents understand the role of county government. Hillsborough County tries to keep citizens informed of our actions. Within the past two years, the county launched a new website providing residents access to important news. Minutes of all meetings, as well as our budget and updates on the actions of all county branches are posted to the website. We welcome the public to become informed and knowledgeable on the county’s role in everyday life. Website www.hcnh.org
In your view, describe the political atmosphere in New Hampshire over the last two years. Do you believe this will have any impact on your position?
I would describe the political atmosphere in New Hampshire as “unique” From the unique form of government of having the third largest legislature in the world, to the grass roots campaigning found in our state, that uniqueness itself contributes to the political atmosphere. We live in a unique time as well. We are in a digital age of information that makes the world smaller with audiences having access to events and information that was before unimaginable. I do not believe the political atmosphere in New Hampshire over the past two years will have an impact on my position as County Commissioner. Voters have quicker access to information that before was unavailable, therefore making them more informed. Living in an age of knowledge, I trust the voters to make an informed decision on who their County Commissioner will be.
What is the most significant issue facing Manchester at the municipal level and how can you, as a County Commissioner aid the city government on that issue?
Rising property taxes are always a concern and a significant issue facing Manchester as well as all municipalities in Hillsborough County. Property tax remains the single largest funding source for all levels of government. Hillsborough County is a service organization. Thus the level and quality of services provided are often impacted by the financial resources available to the County. I will remain committed to working collaboratively with other elected and appointed officials to develop a reasoned budget recommendation that maintains the County’s commitment to supporting necessary services in an efficient, cost effective manner. I will work to present a budget recommendation that funds the delivery of necessary county services supported by a tax appropriation that is fair and equitable to the taxpayer, while being cognizant that this is a very stressful time as we all suffer from a public health crisis.
With the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 in the future, do you support the County Commission meeting remotely?
The current Board of Commissioners previously met remotely when the need was there. We have returned to in-person meetings following recommended guidelines. As the COVID 19 situation changes, I will support the continued evaluation of county operations as a whole.
In your opinion, what were the five most significant actions taken by the County Commission over the last two years? Please explain what made them significant.
The five most significant actions taken by the County Commissioners in no particular order are:
- The demolition of the former State Women’s Prison which was built in 1978 to house inmates at 317 Mast Road, Goffstown. The facility is surrounded by 11 acres of property. In 1989 the State of New Hampshire leased the facility to provide a correctional facility for female inmates. In June 2018 after the State vacated the facility it was determined by the Board of Commissioners and Executive Committee that due to the age of the structure and its specific use that the County would benefit greatly if the facility was demolished thus creating a blank canvas to paint the future. Demolition was completed in the summer of 2019. The County now has a prime location of real estate which will be studied to provide for the future needs of the County.
- During the COVID-19 crisis, the role and importance of healthcare workers and law enforcement officers was highlighted. The State of New Hampshire Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery created the Long Term Stabilization Program and First Responder Stipend Program that provided temporary stabilization funding to incentive front line and direct care workers to remain or join this critical workforce during COVID-19 emergency. This ensured that critical staff gave uninterrupted care to the most vulnerable persons during the COVID-19 crisis. The programs were voluntary, but the Board of Commissioners unanimously supported them and supported their consideration by the County Delegation to a successful passing and roll-out to County employees at the Nursing Home, Department of Corrections and Sheriff’s Department.
- Operating and managing a budget with no increase in the amount to be raised by taxes. For the past two years, Hillsborough County’s budget has increased while the amount to be raised by taxes has not. While the County Delegation is directly responsible for appropriating public funds, it is the Board of Commissioners who must manage the financial activity of the County and decide what programs can be initiated. The increase in operational expenditures with no corresponding increase to the amount raised by taxes has led to a challenging time in managing the budget while still delivering necessary county services to the public with the highest standard of care.
- Hiring of the new Department of Corrections Superintendent. After over thirty-five years of service to the County with over eight years as Superintendent, David Dionne retired. Finding a leader as compassionate and strong as David Dionne was significant. Recently the Board of Commissioners appointed Willie Scurry to the position of Superintendent. Scurry brings the qualities and background necessary to achieve success as the new Superintendent of the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections.
- Continued support and success of SATCO. In 2016, the Board of Commissioners, in which I was a member, helped champion and initiate the Substance Abuse Treatment Community for Offenders (SATCO) program at the Department of Corrections. The program targets offenders sentenced to the Department of Corrections with substance abuse issues and co-occurring disorders. With an eye towards successful reentry into the community after incarceration, the program engages with participants to re-establish a productive life. I am proud that I and the other members of the Board of Commissioners have continued to support this wonderful and impactful program at the Department of Corrections.